Review by Woodrow Phoenix
This second collection of The Best Of EC: Artist’s Edition presents more short stories from a variety of creators, drawn at the massive ‘twice-up’ size of 15″ x 22″ (381 x 550 mm). These vintage art pages have been photographically scanned in colour at very high resolution and reproduced actual size, on heavyweight paper. This process produces the sensation of looking at original drawings exactly as created by the EC artists in the 1950s with all the pencil marks, corrections, different pens and inks, production notes and other artefacts visible. As with all these volumes comprised of vintage art pages, there is variation in paper colour and line densities as the effects of age cause the paper, ink and stuck-on tones and lettering balloons to change in differently unpredictable ways.
Johnny Craig is the artist of ‘Dearly Beloved’, from Vault Of Horror 39 and two covers, for Crime Suspenstories 12 and Vault Of Horror 22. There is one story by Jack Davis: ‘The Last Of The Mohicans!’, from Two-Fisted Tales 40 and one cover for Incredible Science Fiction 31, and similarly George Evans is the artist for ‘…My Brother’s Keeper’, from Shock Suspenstories 16 and one cover for Aces High 5. Jack Kamen art features in ‘Beauty And The Beach!’, from Shock Suspenstories 7.
There are four stories drawn by Bernard Krigstein: ‘In The Bag’, from Shock Suspenstories 18; ‘Master Race’, from Impact 1; ‘The Pit!’, from Vault Of Horror 40; and ‘You, Murderer’, from Shock Suspenstories 14. Harvey Kurtzman is also represented by four stories: ‘Air Burst!’, from Frontline Combat 4; ‘Contact!’, from Frontline Combat 2; ‘Rubble!’, from Two-Fisted Tales 24; and ’Trip Into The Unknown’, from Weird Fantasy 13; and there are four Kurtzman covers for Frontline Combat 1, and Two-Fisted Tales 25, 27 and 28. There are two stories by Joe Orlando: ‘Chewed Out!’, from Weird Science 12; and ‘I, Robot’, from Weird Science–Fantasy 27. One story features art by John Severin and Bill Elder: ‘Bomb Run!’, from Frontline Combat 4.
Al Williamson art is showcased in four stories: ‘The Arrival’, Shock Suspenstories 8; ‘Fish Story’, Weird Science-Fantasy 23, ’Food For Thought’, Incredible Science Fiction 32; ‘Lost In Space’, Weird Science-Fantasy 28 and one cover for Weird Fantasy 21, inked by Frank Frazetta. Wally Wood features in three stories: ‘Caesar!’, from Frontline Combat 8, The Martians!, from Weird Science 15, ‘War Of 1812!’, from Frontline Combat 6, and there’s also his splash page for ‘Old Soldiers Never Die!’, from Two-Fisted Tales 23.
The Best Of EC: Artist’s Edition Volume Two is a much stronger selection of stories than the first volume, including some of the most classic EC material produced. If you want to look at the work behind some of the American comics industry’s most highly rated artists ever, this is the one to get.